View Full Version : On the use of Zombies

04-06-2008, 20:33
Hi all,

I've been looking at the Vampire Counts army book, and, just for fun, made a couple of lists. Now before you click away, this isn't a rate my list post, ok?
The list was fairly standard. At 2200 points it had a magic lord, a vamp, 2 necros, the centre being held by blocks of skeletons, and the flanks by the hard hitters like blood and black knights, varghulf etc.

Then, a thought crossed my mind. Skeletons are just there to soak of casualties from shooting as they advance, it isn't really important if they make it to the other side, what's important is that the hard hitters do. But then I thought, why not use zombies for this? A unit of 30 without any command (seriously, why a banner?) is far cheaper than a unit of skeletons, and can be raised far more easily, because people are going to let you beacuse they underestimate zombies. Yes, they get kicked in combat, but if their are 50 of them, so what? A succesful invocation raises between 5 and 10 of them!

Also, using them saves up the points for your hard hitters!

What are your thoughts on this? Yes, they suck individually, but as a horde? I think it might just work.......

04-06-2008, 20:44
sounds ok
i do like zombies
but now that they are T2 won't that mean they'll be dead all the faster?
at least skellies have a 5+Sv and T3

04-06-2008, 20:54
Zombies should be raised and not bought (even more so if you don't plan to take a banner).

The other problem is that you can't join characters to them, so where is your vampires going to hide?

I'd pick ghouls or skeletons and leave the zombies for raising.

04-06-2008, 21:07
Zombies are damn useful IMO, I once had a game against TK and my 20 zombies with the aid of invocation held 2 Scorpios and a unit of 4 Ushibi for the entire game...

04-06-2008, 23:54
The point isn't that skeletons are better than zombies, but your zombies can do the same thing your skeletons have. I think if you have enough zombies they will do what you want them to do, it's just a question of how many more zombies than skeletons it takes and what the point difference is. Take what's most economical.

And as for raising zombies instead of buying them: If you buy skeletons you'll raise skeletons, if you buy zombies you'll raise zombies. So frankly I don't think there's even a point to raising zombies unless you have a big unit already paid for. Because really, are you going to spend the turns raising that it would take to make a decently-sized zombie unit instead of raising more skellies into the units you already have?

05-06-2008, 07:32
Consider using Helm on those Zombies and you have an amazing unit. I always take 2 units, use invocation and Vanhel's Danse Macabre on them and lend WS7 from Vampire Lord. Now that is a tarpit.

05-06-2008, 10:18
i just raise small units for march blocking, charge redirecting, line of sight blocking, and behind enemy units so when they flee from my battleline they die instanty. oh and my favorite tactic: rasing a unit on a fanatic: garenteed dead, and 50pt to kill a 25pt model, but so worth it for the look on a goblin players face!

05-06-2008, 10:57
Are you able to summon units on top of fanatics? iirc you can only summon them over 1" away from an enemy unit, fanatics are (debatably) units although you can march over/through them.

05-06-2008, 11:28
That's right, you can't summon Zombies on the fanatic (or any other unit for that matter). They gotta be atleast 1" away.

05-06-2008, 11:43
alright then: raise a unit 1" away then danse them on top. i use them to release in the first place most of the time, then if any survive bundle ontop

The Clairvoyant
05-06-2008, 12:02
Summoning 5 zombies next to a fanatic seems a bit silly to me. All you'll achieve is giving away 50VPs

05-06-2008, 12:11
I agree with your points, but ... I like to stick my Vampires in units.

Zombie tarpit is a useful, credible tactic. But having a block of skeletons actually WIN combat is a lot more useful to me. This involves a vampire/wight packing a punch or CR and preferably something chewing their flank(s). Watching enemy units charge and 'bounce' off my skeletons is a lot more satisfying.

05-06-2008, 13:37
I usually start with only 1 block of Zombies on the table, to add some numbers, and the rest of the infantry is Skeletons and Grave Guard. Zombies are far more useful for raising out on the enemy flanks, and Vanhalsing them into enemy units from the rear/flank to pin them and take out rank bonus while your better quality infantry charge from the front.

Zombies are very easy to kill, but also very easy to raise. If you have a Necromancer with the Sceptre de Noirot, they can raise a minimum of 10 Zombies with a successful cast, possibly on only 1 dice, then Incovation them up as well. This gives you a unit, ideally threatening an enemy flank or rear, numbering between 15 and 22 Zombies for as little as 2 Power dice.

Imagine rasing 3-4 such units, and threatening the flanks of all the enemy units. That's the power of Zombies.

05-06-2008, 13:45
Two key issues:

1) Characters can't hide in Zombie units. Where will your characters go?

2) Zombies are so bad in combat, that in certain combats they can become a liability rather than an asset. Skeletons are resilient enough that they can provide you with a safe static CR bonus in key combats. Zombies, on the other hand, can actually sometimes give your opponent 5+ kills easily, which makes them a net liability in a combat.

05-06-2008, 19:21
well for one thingis the danger that the zombies will actually make it on the other side, they are terrible in combat...at least skeletons have some chance of taking down other units (goblins hit and wound zombies on a 3+ and get wounded on a 5+)

also, while that might help against warmachines cos they have random shooting and miss against archers that is useless cos they can choose where to shoot

06-06-2008, 17:34
could you not give the skele's a magic thing to make them able to be raised into? thats what iv faced a few times

Andrew Luke
06-06-2008, 22:17
Zombies are awful. Never pay points for them, period. If you could put a Corpsecart in a unit of zombies (which would make perfect sense) then their could be some cool uses for them, but as is, its not worth it. They are only effective in combat if they charge the rear. Even if they give you an outnumber bonus, any multi-attack troop is going to put 5+ wounds on them, and its the multi attack troops that you would want zombies to tarpit and flank against anyway. On the other hand, 50 points is a pittance to get that Khorne Herald on a Jugger to overrun into a forest and spend the next 3 turns finding his way out!

08-06-2008, 18:06
^^ zombies can be pretty awsome, i assume that they are about as good as slaves, and in a battle i did against skaven, my Keeper of secrets got charged by a unit of 25 slaves, he managed to miss/ not damage with every attack, bish bash bosh double 6 on instabillity = one dead keeper

08-06-2008, 19:23
Don't buy them, Raise them!
Sceptre de Noirot + Raise Dead + Invocation of Nehek work effectively well when using correct, a successfully cast of both spell could possibly give you 20 zombies! Zombie in horde could be hell hard to destroy, unit without handful CR (Greater Daemon, for example) tend to struggle against zombies.
And there are so many more ways to use zombie, march block, divert charge, retreat block, claim corner, block LOS, etc...

08-06-2008, 20:01
Zombies are awesome: free units that won't flee. Only time I played my VC with the new book, I raised them left and right, blocking lines of sight, or to redirect. They single handedly won me the battle (ok, technically, it was the vampire who did since he raised them, but still).

09-06-2008, 11:37
First of, never sent a zombie to do a proper blocks job. But the possbilies of the zombies are great and many, they can hold or even beat most flanking units, they fights characters, dragons, bloodthirsters just as good as their bony counterparts.

And they still add the +4 from the ranks and outnumber, (almost) no 1A model, 5 wide unit will kill 4 zombies.

That said, I don't use them alot, as I find the other core choices as enough to fill these parts, but when your points are sinking, and you still need ranks and numbers, zombies can work in an army.

A rarely use the rasing zombies, as the price seems too great, BUT sometimes it ofcourse is quite practical :P

09-06-2008, 14:11
Zombies are a support unit. They provide weight of bodies (ha) for outnumbering and/or rank bonus. And they get a big stick that provides +1 CR.

However, do not forget that zombies may never pursue. You will need to use them in tandem with another unit if you expect to actually kill anything with them. A Varghulf is an ideal candidate for this (3d6" pursuit, lots of killing power)

I take one unit of 20 to battle so I can bring a standard & musician. With enough magical support this unit will become roughly 30-40 strong by the time it reaches combat. I like to use terrain to 'funnel' heavy cavalry, large monsters, etc into their path to create unwinnable tarpit situations for my opponent. If they decide to divert extra support to rid themselves of some 92-point fodder then the rest of my army has even less to deal with.

Surround and kill.

09-06-2008, 17:42
I never pay for them; I only raise them. And I find them to be generally worthless except to block LOS, to mess with enemy units (by march blocking, forcing fear-flee tests on low Ld units, or tying up crews), or to do the much-beloved "summon directly behind a combat so when you flee, you run right into them and die" tactic.

As an example, in a game vs Empire last week, he had a speculum wizard on a pegasus and was planning on using him as a vampire-seeking missile. I saw it coming, summoned up a small unit of zombies 1" in front of my general's skellie bodyguard, thereby preventing that charge and completely screwing his gameplan.

Whenever I've tried to actually use them in combat, they've done nothing but suck and die, generally dying so quickly that they actually negated any combat res bonuses they provided by being there.

09-06-2008, 20:44
I always pay for them, almost never raise them (nehek on the original regiment being an exception). They almost always die to the last, but nearly never in vain. I don't give them banners as they usually give it up, but CR4 is nice already. Of course they never win against anything, but if they draw and hold something in place, thats great.

They are my cheapest true core unit and a nice receptable for my lower level casters to pour power dice into (first couple turns one dice-nehek on them, they will usually let them trough as "they are only zombies",) as they can't raise more skeletons (necromancers for example).

It is also nice experience, when the opponent brings everything he has nearby, and charges zombies, and the lonely musician is all that remains of the regiment. The look on opponents face, when he fails to break through :D

@Darthbinky: how about taking champions, and challenging those vampire-seeking missiles? Not dependant of spellcasting, and not giving him any VP.

09-06-2008, 21:26
If I take Skeletons I never have enough PD to raise new units of Zombies as I am then struggling to keep the Skeletons up to a fighting standard. It also becomes hard to keep the Grave Guard and Black Knights going, unless I sacrifice the Skeletons.
Using Zombies lets me concentrate on keeping the elites up.
You have no idea the amount of damage the zombies can take and when they finally die, they give up very little VPs.

(I haven't the models to try ghouls - the plastics look awful and the old metal are too expensive.)

I take three Zombie units as my basic core and they are always very useful.

I go with fighter Vampires and Wight Kings anyway, so they always join Grave Guard and Black Knights.

Still, I think it's a shame, as I was hoping to get to use my old Skeletons again - 6th ed was all about zombies after all.
I find this is still true.
Also, reminding the opponent that his S3 bows wound them on a 3+ is priceless, they get so carried away they won't shoot at anything else...